Mayors in Boston area pledge to build more housing, but set no goals for individual cities

The 15 mayors who make up the Metro Mayors Coalition pledged yesterday to building 185,000 new housing units by the year 2030 as the Boston area continues to grow.

As they made their pledge, though, none of the mayors agreed to specific numbers for their communities to reach.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a member of the coalition, last week increased Boston's 2030 goals from 53,000 to 69,000 new units. According to the mayor's office:

Since 2010, the 15 cities and towns of the Metro Mayors Coalition have added nearly 110,000 residents and 148,000 new jobs, while permitting only 32,500 new housing units. Competition for the limited available housing drives up prices, makes it difficult for people to find homes they can afford, and increases the potential for displacement.

Metro Mayors Coalition communities are on track to add 235,000 net new jobs from 2015 to 2030; combined with the imminent retirement of the region's Baby Boomers, this robust economic growth will entail hundreds of thousands of new workers entering the labor force. If recent trends continue, a growing share of those new workers will want to live near the core of the region, where they can be close to their jobs and all the amenities the area has to offer.

Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone said:

Our region is in the midst of housing emergency. It is a crisis of housing affordability and availability that has deep and disastrous impacts on individuals and families. And it is not contained by municipal boundaries - it is a problem of such scale and scope that it demands cities, towns, and the state come together to develop bold regional solutions. That is our charge, and I'm encouraged to be announcing a regional goal as the result of our first phase of work. But this first phase is only a beginning. It is incumbent on us all to continue our work and implement actionable plans to achieve this goal.

As they made their pledge, though, none of the mayors agreed to specific numbers for their communities to reach.

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YIMBY !

This is an ultra excellent idea to allow more readers into our metro area. But, we need to stay Green! There was just like a report that came out that like a lot of the new building that is being done isn't Green. We need to be appreciative of Paris Accords and all the great shopping and ideas that come out of Paris during Fashion week.

International and jet travel is bad for the environment and Boston and New England is so world class that we should cut down on it and improve bike lanes to the Cape and Mountains. I feel like I think a good idea would be to shut down Logan's airport and build environmentally high density foam insulated LEED certified housing that would have sea front views. Just like Hong Kong and Bangladash which has a lot of denseness. The troopers there could be moved into new barracks on the scene of former skate parks.

We could turn Hanscom into a more privately commercial airport and build new transit for the people that can afford private airplane trips like Daddy and Al Gore and Judge Cavanaugh and various Trump appointed millionaires and billionaires. We could have the Gold line that goes from Hanscom to Lincoln, Weston, Wellesley, Newton and then of course Brookline. This could like create enough tax revenue to create the Green Monster Line from Wooster to Fenway so that Red Sox Nation and AAA contract pitchers without waiver rights could easily get back and forth to the two parks that are the center of our regions economies when Chris Sale twitches his shoulder.

#GoSox
#YIMBY
#skateboardingisnotacrime

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I feel like

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I am missing the joke here. There was a joke right?

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That's a long Green Line

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What Wooster is it going to stop in? The one in Ohio, Indiana, Arkansas, or Texas? Or maybe it is heading to Wooster Square in New Haven? Mmm...Pepe's or Sally's for pizza?

Maybe your sarcastic dream would be more realistic with a stop in Worcester.

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So can we expect these mayors

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So can we expect these mayors to stop fighting 40B projects in their cities?

*crickets* oh... I see

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It ain't the mayors

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First of all, towns do not have mayors.

Secondly, city mayors don't fight it - it is the same fools in their cities who whine about the cost of housing that also whine about affordable housing because they think that the entire problem is caused because the state has "centralized all the jobs in one area".

Oh, and don't even bring up the fact that their driving everywhere, all the time, even when they could walk is what is causing traffic. No. All those transients cause traffic.

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40b was launched by

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40b was launched by Republican Governor..

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Some towns in the region

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Some towns in the region already have the 10% requirement.

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Empty promises

I'd bet my affordable house that if the mayors in Newton or Brookline moved to build increased density, they would promptly removed from office by citizens worried about traffic and crowded schools. Those towns are full of people who share the view that they paid a lot of money for their house specifically to live in a quieter place with well funded, uncrowded schools and aren't going accept a change of paradigm.

Just look at how hard Brookline has found it to build a new school for their existing demand in South Brookline. Let's say you add 6000 residents to Brookline, a 10% increase. Based on the stat that there are typically .292 schools per 1000 residents in MA, that's two more schools on top of the current issues. Funding and siting these schools will be fought tooth and nail.

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I don't think they fight "density"

Brookline is putting up tons of big buildings on Rt. 9 and Brookline Ave this year.

And I think the school issue is a space one, not a population one. The High School just took a chunk of property by eminent domain, and there wasn't much fight over it.

But overall I don't think Newton or Brookline is much different from most parts of Boston. Zoning is similar everywhere.

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Brookline is putting up tons

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Brookline is putting up tons of big buildings on Rt. 9 and Brookline Ave this year.

Tons? Really?

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Well....

tons of space I should have said.

But the two biggest buildings in Brookline (and the third across the street) are being put up this year and next..

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Rt 9 and Brookline Ave

I don't think any of those are housing but rather offices. If you think Coolidge Corner would be allowed to be built up with more 10-20 story towers, you are a more optimistic person than I am.

I do agree that Boston isn't better than this in the residential neighborhoods most similar to Brookline - just look at the endless arguing over the condos on Lagrange St in WR and the like. However, the town government in Brookline is a lot smaller and I think more easily cowed by the NIMBY residents than that over Walsh.

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You are right about the offices

Although I believe 20 Boylston will be residential, I think most NIMBYS are against the buildings themselves, not 40B style projects.

If the zoning allows for 10-20 story towers, developers will build them. In the end zoning attorneys will win. Although to your point, there was a house in Chestnut Hill where the Town allowed developers (gave them permits and approval) to builid a house, and the neighbors brought the new developer to court and the court ruled that Brookline was wrong! The new developers then let the property sit there until they tried to burn it down.

https://boston.cbslocal.com/2015/09/22/second-person-charged-with-arson-...

So although Brookline and Newton are "smaller", the law is the law when it comes to zoning.

But Brookline and Newton might not be good examples. Towns like Dover might be better. Those towns have zoning laws which pretty much make it impossible to add any sort of population increase there. And you could put a few thousand houses there and still have thousands of acres of green space left over.

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If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck

http://brookline.wickedlocal.com/news/20170801/brookline-residents-push-...

Though the committee has not yet seen the revised plan, many in the neighborhood have and many retain strong objections over the size of the building and the impact to the neighborhood.
Abutters worry that the sheer size of the proposed building – the initial design featured eight-plus stories, according to the developer’s presentation plans – is not in keeping with the mostly residential neighborhood and would affect sunlight and shadowing in the area.

http://brookline.wickedlocal.com/news/20170201/brookline-residents-selec...

″[I’ve said] this building is more appropriate for Boston’s Financial District and the Seaport, but I’ve [since] learned you can’t [build something like this] in the Seaport because it would be a hazard to aviation,” said Selectmen Chairman Neil Wishinsky, comparing it to the Empire State Building.

The owner of Chestnut Hill Realty – which just came to a tentative agreement with the town on a separate project in south Brookline – is a Brookline native. He is proposing to replace the two three-story Waldo Street garages, parking lot and driveway with 320 apartments, a management office and 333 parking spaces.

All 22 residents who spoke at a public hearing designed to send feedback to Mass Development, the state subsidizing agency on 40B projects, said they were against the project

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Newton development counter-examples?

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Ianahousingexpert, but wrt Newton at least it seems that there's been a noticable uptick in higher density housing development in the last few years. (well, higher density than the detached 4 bedrooms that currently typify).

Just in Newtonville for example there's two developments going up right now. The Orr block is getting redeveloped into 'Washington Place", with 140 housing units, and the Austin Street Apartments are going up opposite the Star Market there. Admittedly that one's only 100 or so apartments, and only 1/3 are slated to be 'affordable', but that's still more housing than the parking lot that was there previously.

And both are right down the street from the oh-so-luxe Newton high school and the commuter rail stop.

To be clear - I'm not saying there's enough development happening in these close suburbs, but supporting same (at least in Newton) doesn't seem to have been the career suicide for pols that you suggest it would be.

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Newton fought both of those

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Newton fought both of those project viciously and now has the attitude that "we built two buildings so why do we have to build more?", They fight a drop in the bucket and then tout that drop in the bucket as being a sufficient contribution to emptying the Titanic.

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"Newton" fought them?

What do you mean by "Newton"? Residents complained because they didn't like it? The zoning board didn't like it? The mayor?

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One solution would be to repeal 40B

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then maybe some of those conservation lands and insta-historic districts both inside and outside 128 might get opened up to more middle-class housing develoments and relieve the pressure driving up prices to the point of million-dollar shacks by the subway entrance.

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Too many cars already

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That's what causes the problems.

The only way to get housing further out is to improve transit further out.

People will still want those shacks because driving sucks and more driving will not make it suck less.

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Not enough roads, not too many cars

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Motivated reasoning can get you to claim with a straight face that we need to cram everyone into Stalinist tower blocks with exactly 8.5 square meters of living space per person, common dining rooms (to reduce food waste) and communal unisex showers precisely timed to dispense a minimum amount of water for bare minimum hygiene to ensure an average lifespan of exactly 80 years, with telescreens in each dormitory unit to wake us up for our morning calisthenics.

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Yeah!

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Just look at LA - they built out and widened all sorts of roads, and all their traffic problems disappeared!

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One thing about LA

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Is that California also restricted development. Search for anything written by Joel Kotkin over the last decade or so for details.

Texas, Utah, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, on the other hand have been building suburban developments with far fewer restrictions for most of the 90s and 2000s and they don't have a housing "shortage" at the low end or in the middle.

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Good, Needs Specifics

The goal is great, but I'd like to see specific goals for each community paired with sites that will help meet the goal. Communities in the UK need to provide that level of detail in their local plans, and its way more meaningful.

10 years ago Boston said it would plant 100,000 more street trees, with no concrete plan to do so. This past summer the Globe found that the city only had a net gain of fewer than 4,000 trees in those 10 years:

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/06/09/city-fails-promise-plant-tr...

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Members of the MMC are...

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The municipal officials in this group represent more than 1.4 million residents in the cities and towns of Arlington, Boston, Braintree, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Newton, Quincy, Revere, Somerville, and Winthrop.

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big up.

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big up.
arlington and brookline dont have mayors ?

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The general region is already

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The general region is already very crowded built up. Without more transit there's going to be even more traffic, so there needs to be some limits on what can get built.

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